Tesco: Why the Double Standard?

Mr S M Mohamed Idris demontrating the safety cap on other brand toilet cleaner.

The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) is disappointed with Tesco’s practice of double standard in packaging some of their products. Our market survey found that the safety aspect of Tesco merchandise sold in Malaysia is not of equivalent standard to the one sold in the United Kingdom (UK).

Tesco toilet bowl cleaners without child resistant caps.

CAP had received a complaint regarding the sale of Tesco brand toilet cleaners in unsafe packaging whereby the item sold in Malaysia lacks child-resistant cap unlike the UK equivalent.  A check on several other brands on the shelves found that these products come with such child-resistant packaging.

We are dismayed that the multinational company which also retails its own merchandise in its outlets in Asia and Europe, accords Malaysian children a lower standard of care.

Child-resistant packaging, in this case by using a special safety cap, is needed to reduce the risk of children being exposed to hazardous products such as disinfectants, household chemicals and cleaning products. The World Health Organization and UNICEF state that child resistant packaging is one of the best-documented successes in preventing accidental poisoning of children.

It is beside the point whether there exists a Malaysian standard for packaging requirements of hazardous household products. The company should practice the same standards as its home country and not use packaging that would otherwise be unacceptable in their home market.

We urge Tesco Stores (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd to recall all hazardous household products that do not have child resistant packaging.  The Malaysian government should also ascertain that safety precautions for hazardous products such as this are prioritized.

We advise consumers to rid your house of chemical cleaners and use natural or alternative ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, essential oils, lemon juice or citric acid to keep your toilet bowls clean.

Press Statement, 23 September 2016